Internal Displacement; Five Pathways to Overcome

Ukraine War, Conflict, Climate Adds More to Displacement

With Internal displacement a major challenge to sustainable development, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) suggests five key pathways  for overcoming the challenge.

In the new report – Turning the tide on internal displacement: A development approach to solutions–, the UNDP suggests implementing key development solutions, including ensuring equal access to rights and basic services, promoting socio-economic integration, restoring security, building social cohesion, and better data and research.

The UNDP “by investing in development solutions, governments with support of national stakeholders and development partners will help IDPs overcome the consequences of their displacement and foster their contribution to economies and societies, while delivering progress on key SDGs.”

In the report, the UNDP said that internal displacement, conflict, violence, disasters, climate change and economic crises are resulting in historical reversals in human development, with the poorest and most vulnerable hit the hardest. “The impacts go beyond IDPs and the communities that host them. Internal displacement can affect states, resulting in immediate global costs and losses estimated to be over US$21 billion per year,” they said.

On the report, United Nations Development Programme Administrator Achim Steiner in the forward said, “this new report, produced by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with the collaboration of the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), argues that in tandem with critical humanitarian assistance, there is a need to place a renewed emphasis on development as the only way to provide sustainable solutions to internal displacement and build pathways towards peace and stability. This is in line with the recommendations issued by the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel Report on Internal Displacement and a key tenet of the UN Secretary-General’s Action Agenda on Internal Displacement.”

For years, sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and North Africa, and parts of the Americas have been the regions most affected by internal displacement linked with conflicts and violence. With the ongoing war in Ukraine and the unfolding large-scale internal displacement, now Europe is also heavily affected. Disaster-related internal displacement is even more widespread, with new displacements recorded in over 130 countries and territories in 2021. Countries in Asia and the Pacific region show the highest numbers, but every country is at risk. According to the World Bank, without concrete action, by 2050, climate change could force more than 216 million people to move within their own countries.

Key recommendations

Guaranteeing IDPs’ access to full rights as citizens and residents of their own countries

and incorporating internal displacement into national and local development plans.

2. Increasing gender-responsive measures to foster socio-economic integration and

provide IDPs and wider displacement-affected communities’ access to health, education,

livelihoods, decent jobs, and social protection among others.

3. Ensuring the safety of IDPs and communities by guaranteeing the rule of law, improving

security and access to justice, and ensuring peace processes are inclusive.

4. Enhancing the civil and political participation of IDPs through access to legal and civil

documentation, greater representation in local governance structures, and increased

participation in electoral processes. 5. Reinforcing social cohesion by ensuring non-discriminatory access to services, restoring housing, land and property, and promoting dialogue and peaceful coexistence between IDPs and host communities.


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